04 March 2012

**New Blog**

Please visit my new blog at www.chetgordon.com This blog site you are viewing here will no longer be updated. Thank you and thanks for viewing my work. ~cg.

22 February 2012

"Goodbye Old Friend(s)..." 20•Feb.•12

On Monday I took the plunge and began making what one might consider a drastic change to my overall web presence. After some much needed thought, and from a mere economic and cost cutting measure, I discontinued the hosting plan I'd had since launching my original website (above) back in 2002 or so. I'd also moved my domain name to a new host server with more features for web hosting than the original service. (I'd been paying yearly fees equivalent to what it cost to host a website ten years ago) so you know I was overpaying the last few years. After a few discussions the past few weeks with a colleague and fellow photographer, I also decided to upgrade to WordPress blog software (for the new blog) and begin running the blog on my own server - meaning the "new" blog would be hosted on my server I'm paying for space on, and not hosted on a freebie like the Google / BlogSpot servers as I'd had for the last 5 years or so. So this post tonight can sort of officially be considered the first new post on the new blog... There's still quite a bit of back shop work to do here in the new WordPress software, but once everything here is moved over and rebuilt from the old blog to the new one with a slightly different theme (or design) it'll look and flow quite nicely. Thanks again for looking. Stay tuned and enjoy. "Cheers...!"

You can view the new blog here: Chet Gordon • Photographer

16 February 2012

"Giving Back..." (Part 2) Newburgh, NY 15•Feb.•12

(2) - During my lecture last night for the Hudson Valley Professional Photographer's Society at the Hilton Garden Inn in Newburgh, NY on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. (Photograph by Peter Salo)

13 February 2012

"Giving Back..." Newburgh, NY 15•Feb.•12

I've been invited to speak at a dinner meeting of the Hudson Valley Professional Photographers Society of NY on Wednesday evening here in Newburgh, NY. Click HERE to access their site and newsletter. (click the newsletter link on their site to access the live links in the files posted below.) Looking forward to seeing some old friends and colleagues in the business, and making some new ones. Should be a fun night and an opportunity again to view my favorite images on a large screen, instead of hunched over in front of the Mac... ~cg.

12 February 2012

Army - Navy Basketball (again). West Point, NY 11•Feb.•12

I've been quietly waiting a year to get back into Christl Arena at the United States Military Academy in West Point to work another Army - Navy basketball rivalry. Since I didn't have to opportunity to cover what would've been my fifth Army - Navy football game in FedEx Field last December in Washington, DC, I knew this assignment yesterday was going to be big. For the past few days I'd been playing out different scenarios in my head, and my mind's eye on how to go about covering another big basketball day with two games. Hauling in a full set of arena strobes was a given. (5) Five cameras bodies was also an easy item near the top of the checklist. (I work with four throughout the day.) Enough lenses ranging from a fish-eye to the 'long' 300mm f/2.8AF easily make the cut too. Besides, I'd worked last year's matchup between these two service academies, so I felt a little more comfortable knowing I had a good reference point for logistics in the venue, complete gear selection, shooting positions, strobing the arena again, and of course utilizing at least one remote camera. You can see last year's post on how I covered the games by clicking HERE. Arriving a little more than 3 hours before the start of the women's game at noon, meant at least 4 trips to the top rows of the empty arena to securely install the strobes in each corner. Since both games were on national TV, I hesitated in attempting to install a remote camera behind the backboard glass without a helper, and since the TV guys were still using a large ladder to install their audio equipment on both baskets, I decided not to waste too much time waiting for them and even dismissed the idea of installing a low angle remote camera on the backboard stanchion as I'd done last year. It'd have to be a remote camera from the stands with a telephoto zoom on this day (at right). My "ah-hah" moment didn't come until almost tip-off of the women's game at noon when a fellow photographer took his position on the floor nearby and asked, "Hey Chet, Where's your remote...?" I reminded myself that I'd already been in the building before 9AM... ~cg.

09 February 2012

"My Day..." Middletown, NY. 09•Feb.•12

"...started before 4AM..."

Law enforcement officers outside a home on Eisenhower Drive in the Presidential Heights neighborhood during coordinated early morning raids on suspected gang members in MIddletown, NY on Thursday, February 9, 2012. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

"and the AP also moved this image on the wires this afternoon... ~cg"

04 February 2012

"More Winners..." Feb. 2012

Kinda starting the year off right with a (small) announcement that an image of mine was awarded a second place (top) in the NPPA - MNCC (National Press Photographer's Association - Monthly News Clip Contest) for last October. The image that's come to be known around the office and with colleagues as "The kid with the cellphone..." has easily become a favorite of mine. I've explained that covering a fire (or any spot or even general news event) isn't only about photographing the actions unfolding right in front of you. Firefighters, cops, EMS personnel working a hectic scene, or even a "guy at a mic" (politicians and executives of any stature delivering a speech come to mind here) become the "locator" images or even the ones that will serve as an historical reference for later use. Editors live to see these straight ahead photographs. Images of burning buildings, twisted metal, and gurneys on the street just mean you got there in time at a breaking news event and made some timely pictures. Old school photographers know of the saying, "f/8 and be there..." when it comes to shooting spot news. Sometimes you have to walk around the building, scene, or even meeting room or lecture hall, and make it a point to change lenses, and just "see what's going on" away from the main action. Listen to neighbors or onlookers, because they may have "seen something" that you're not quite aware of yet. It also can't hurt if you hustle to a fire like this on your day off... ~cg.

Here's how the original looked with the complete caption info:

A boy uses a smartphone to photograph exposed flames burning through the rear of a 3 - story house during a three-alarm fire at 488 Liberty Street in Newburgh, NY on Sunday, October 23, 2011. Nearly a dozen people were left homeless after the fire erupted in the multi-family home when a resident was cooking in a second-floor apartment in the rear of the building. All the occupants got out safely and there were no injuries. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

24 January 2012

"They're just 'Hammers & Nails', man..." (Part 2) 24•Jan.•12

Packing up the hardware for a junior college basketball game between two local rivals tonight:

Here's a few favorites from the night, which included working with four cameras (one as a remote installed in the bleachers & aimed down toward a basket), two Dyna-Lite Uni-Jr. strobes clamped high in the stands in either corner of the gym, and just as importantly - gaining permission to edit and transmit my first 5 images on deadline from a coaches office after the game. That alone saved a lot of time and stress before packing everything up and loading the car to head back to the office, only a few blocks away. (Ironically, this is the same college gym where I'd installed the backboard remote and made the image that appeared in Popular Photography Magazine and subsequently their how-to book, "TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Essential Tips & Tricks For Shooting Amazing Photos" I'd written about a few days ago as well... ~cg.

"They're just 'Hammers & Nails', man..." Jan. 2012

My gear used to cover Boys HS Varsity swimming between Monroe-Woodbury & Kingston High Schools at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School in Central Valley, NY on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. © www.chetgordon.com/blog

Now that covering the indoor sports seasons are finally in full swing for me again, here's a brief look at what I go through as far as camera & lens selection, lighting equipment, the whole bit. There are a few more big basketball games coming up (both HS & college) in the next few weeks, so now is as good a time as any to continue getting the bugs out of my equipment systems, and shake the rust off while actually working these games. Thanks for looking... ~cg.

Cameron Meyer of Kingston swims the 100 meter freestyle to finish second at 53.9 during their Boys varsity swim meet against Monroe-Woodbury at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School in Central Valley, NY on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Elijah Ghrael (#22) converts his second free throw to put NFA ahead by one point, 65 - 64 in the closing seconds of their game against Middletown in Newburgh, NY on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Ghrael had 15 points as NFA defeated Middletown 65 - 64. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

19 January 2012

"Another One in the Books..." 19•Jan.•12

A favorite sports photograph of mine (above right) was published again, this time in sort of a how-to book presented by the editors at Popular Photography Magazine: "TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Essential Tips & Tricks For Shooting Amazing Photos" It's actually a pretty decent looking soft cover book, easy to read, nice simple diagrams, and edited for everyone from serious amateurs to working pros. ~cg.

*This image has truly "grown legs" as we say in the business about a story or photograph. Below are the earlier posts again on the background history of the image and what it took for me back then to make the picture in 2008... ~cg

In all the craziness of this year's HS playoff basketball tournaments the past few weeks, I've just gotten around to writing about the above piece in Popular Photography magazine. A photo of mine with an accompanying story was published last month. (March 2010 - page 42.) Click HERE. It was actually a file photo from a HS basketball playoff game here in my coverage area made 2 years ago, and I've previously written extensively on the preparation and execution in making the image here on the blog. Click HERE to view those earlier links. (now posted below as well.) The real interest in the image itself was that not only was the image made from a remote camera mounted behind the backboard glass - that camera also fired the arena (studio) strobes a colleague and I installed the night before in the college gym for the weekend's playoff games. Professionally for me and extremely gratifying was the exposure of one my images in a national magazine. I began receiving emails from photographers around the country who'd seen the piece as subscribers, when I couldn't find a copy of it here in any of the big retail bookstores in my area. A couple of local photographers teased me about the piece at a big HS basketball game (where else?) one Friday night in late February; that due to scheduling, I wasn't even working. It was a big deal game between two local rivals and I still sat along the baseline to watch the game from what would've been my normal working perspective.
In all seriousness, it all began by answering what looked like a generic or possibly even a junk email after Christmas, which materialized into a series of phone interviews with the senior editor at the magazine, subsequently followed up by email submissions of the images from me.

*A final word on having a photograph like this not only seen by other editors, but the rights purchased for publication (from the paper) and a decent fee paid to us both. Proves again that you never, ever know who's looking at your work from afar...

Big fun. Nice tearsheet(s). I'm looking forward to hanging this piece on my office wall sometime soon. ~cg.

Sebastian Valdez, #41, left, and Cory Quimby, #44 right, of Minisink reach for rebound during their Section 9 Class AA Championship game against Newburgh Free Academy at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY on Saturday, March 1, 2008. Minisink defeated Newburgh 60 - 57. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

Strobist info & other tech talk: Nikon D-1X *(yea, I still use my old digital Nikons) with a 14mm F/2.8 Nikkor AF, mounted with a Bogen Magic-Arm & Superclamp behind the backboard glass for this championship series game. Four Dynalite Uni-Jr.'s lit the gym, that were clamped to the top corner railings of the bleachers the night before for earlier games. The whole rig was fired by Pocket-Wizards. I also shot from the floor with 2 other bodies, one short, with an 70mm - 200mm f/2.8 AF & the other with a 300mm f/2.8 AF to shoot the other end of the court. Game time exposures were: ISO 800 1/250th. sec. @ f/3.2 - 3.5. Note: This image was from the marquee game at 5PM. There were three other championship games played prior to this game, which meant I was in the gym actually turning on the house lights myself, and up on a ladder, 8 hours before tip-off of this game. Breakdown time of the strobes & remote rig was about an hour & this image still made deadline for the paper. -cg.

*This image took ONE YEAR, 3 DAYS & 8 HOURS to produce. Here's the Why & How: After we'd lit up the gym at SUNY New Paltz (NY) with four strobes for last year's HS Sectional Playoffs, I knew I wanted to make the effort to mount a remote camera "behind the glass" for this type of image, and have been talking about doing just that with a colleague at work for a year. *(that's the One Year part). I've been mounting remotes for basketball for years, both at the pro, college & even HS level, but those cameras were all making images under the venue's available light at high ISO's. This was the first game where I actually had the full assortment of gear & probably just as importantly - time - to mount a backboard remote, and also have this camera separately fire the four studio strobes mounted up in the corners of the gym. Last Thursday afternoon I met with the college's Director of Communications, and the assistant Athletic Director in the their gym to explain what I hoped to accomplish. Showed them samples of my earlier strobed sports & images made at NBA games with remotes & handed out business cards, etc. The DOC (communications guy) formally worked at West Point for years in their SID (sports information dept.) and understood immediately the importance of strobing arena games. (that's the 3 Day part). Finally, I had to arrive at the gym approximately three hours before the start of the first noontime playoff game in the gym. This image was from the marquee game played at 5PM. *(that's the 8 hour part), as I was in the gym at 9AM, literally 8 hours before tip-off of this game. I shot a few tests with this camera from the earlier games, and grabbed a ladder at halftime to pull the card to make sure everything looked OK on my Mac. The college maintenance guys, HS Tournament officials, coaches & fans who arrived early to see me up on a ladder, working behind the backboard to install the remote camera were all supportive and enthusiastic. That meant a lot during my set-up time.

*Oh yea, "Go (very) early. Stay late. Get the uniform dirty..." -cg.